Bee a Good Citizen
SpunHoney is hosting the Pocketful of Change benefit concert at the Vet's Club. The event, equipped with Ninkasi beer on tap, raffle prizes and guest performers, is all for a good cause: Proceeds go to FOOD for Lane County (FFLC). Pocketful of Change benefits FFLC's vehicle funds to help ensure transportation is readily available for delivering food around Lane County. The benefit also hopes to raise enough money to distribute to the Musicians Emergency Medical Association (MEMA) and the Vet's Club. MEMA is the brainchild of local saxophonist Paul Biondi, who will perform in a "saxophone-off" — dubbed "You Can Leave Your Sax On" — against James Green (from Reeble Jar) during the show. MEMA is a non-profit organization founded by musicians for musicians. The main goal is to provide financial resources to musicians and their families during medical emergencies. As of now, MEMA is a local organization, but it hopes eventually to go national.
Performers for the evening include SpunHoney, I-chéle and the Circle of Light, Jupiter Hollow, Eagle Park Slim and Tyler Spencer on didgeridoo. The Pocketful of Change Benefit Concert starts at 6 pm Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Vet's Club. $5 don. — Katie Cornell
From Hated to Celebrated
As a member of the late-'90s Los Angeles pop punk trio Osker, Devon Williams was well known for his snotty angst and onstage outspokenness. The singer, guitarist and frontboy (he was only 16 when Osker formed) often crucified the punk scene's nonconformist conformity, namely its fashion, and his frequent crowd-baiting earned the band the label of meanest and most hated act on Epitaph Records. If that's the case, then who is this softy singing about "visions of love" over sweeping orchestration and honey-eyed harmonies?
Obviously Devon Williams has grown up and calmed down, trading in the soapbox for a string section. He's been touring with southern California songbird Lavender Diamond and collaborating with her pianist/composer Steve Gregoropoulos, and it shows. With an unassuming voice and bouncy, sun-kissed melodies, Williams is now more in line with early Paul McCartney or Badly Drawn Boy than Rancid and Green Day. On "Fragile Weapon," his voice skips over a delicate, Smiths-esque guitar and even-tempered rhythm, while on "A Truce," Williams plays tag with bushy-tailed strings and hits falsettos that would put the doe-eyed Beatle to shame. He's definitely swapped the teenage screeds for poppy love songs, but as far as the on-stage antics, Devon, I still wouldn't flaunt that faux-hawk if I were you. Devon Williams plays at 9 pm Thursday, Dec. 13, at Sam Bond's Garage (21+ show, $3-$5) and 8 pm Thursday, Dec. 20, at Cozmic Pizza(all ages, $5). — Jeremy Ohmes
"If you're new, good luck." So says DJ KaatSkratch, one half of the Total Knockout Sound team and one of four women DJs in the Sarasvati DJ showcase. She's speaking of how hard it is for female DJs to break into the scene, but her words could just as well apply to male DJs. "The places that have DJs are real entrenched with their own DJ. The clubs have their DJs, and that's who they call."
DJ KaatSkratch, who will MC the Sarasvati showcase, has been fortunate to find slots at WOW Hall — but even then it's only when someone else doesn't show up. "I've done a lot of shows on 10 minutes notice!" she laughs. DJ KaatSkratch doesn't limit herself to one genre. She reads the crowd to play what they want to hear, but it's always the "stuff that people like to move to."
She describes Sarasvati's headliner Moonvoid as "amazing." On the rave music circuit for years, Moonvoid is "a master of beat mixing and knob twisting sound manipulation. She is as much fun to watch as she is to listen and dance to."
DJ Layla, who frequently spins for bellydancers, often adds the flavor of Middle Eastern tribal music to her sets. And DJ LeluLaserlight has "a whole performance art show going on," not just music, says DJ KaatSkratch. Lelu calls her self-made genre "Outer Space Love Rock," and overlays her live performances with guitar and "fembot vocals with self-recorded backing tracks from her digital 8-track machine."
DJs rely on networking to find gigs. DJ KaatSkratch is hoping that Sarasvati will help create a network of female DJs and provide more opportunities. "Hopefully, we'll do the show and some other lady DJs will be there and sign up for next time."
Sarasvati DJ Showcase takes place at 9 pm Thursday, Dec. 13, at Diablo's Downtown Lounge. 21+ show. $3 — Vanessa Salvia